Luke 13:18-35 (NIV)
The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
18Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.”
20Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
The Narrow Door
The way is narrow. We can’t bring our self-centeredness, pride, lusts, hate, or especially our own righteousness. As the famous hymn sings: “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.”
22Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
from 40 Days to Your Best Life: A Spiritual Journey to Contentment for Nurses,
by Suzanne Tietjen
The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires your total attention.
–Luke 13:24 (the Message)
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine issued a report titled “To Err Is Human,” saying that one in twenty-five hospital patients is harmed by medical errors. Medical errors are the eighth highest cause of death in the United States, outranking automobile accidents, breast cancer, and HIV/AIDS. My father, an aerospace engineer—and thus a person with a low tolerance for errors—couldn’t get over this.
“How can this happen?” he asked me.
I told him to imagine himself sitting at the dinner table reaching for the salt when Mom asks him a question. A moment later he finds himself shaking pepper rather than salt onto his mashed potatoes. It happens just like that.
Distraction, it turns out, is the root cause of errors about 41 percent of the time. The health-care world is struggling to find ways to avoid interruptions and concentrate on the task at hand.
Distraction gets me in trouble spiritually as well. I battle it daily in my prayer life. I start out talking to God and somehow find myself making a grocery list. Or I plan to read my Bible, but get caught up in a television show.
Worse still, I have an impulse to call a friend or write a letter, but between the demands of work and home, I forget to do it. I find myself reacting to life’s interruptions, rather than following God’s leading. All too human, I can’t maintain my focus on my own.
The apostle Paul talked about having his eye on the goal. More and more—at work, at home, and in my relationships with God and people—I, too, am asking God to help me pay attention.
One thing at a time.
Focus on the goal.
Eyes on the prize.
His life in me.
25Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
26“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
28“There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
Jesus’ Sorrow for Jerusalem
31At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
32He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
34“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 35Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”
How much we need the Savior! “Rock of Ages” — written by Augustus Toplady and sung HERE by the Antrim Mennonite Choir from Freeport, Ohio.